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Why You Should Shop a Little Smarter This Month

Written on October 10, 2012 at 10:34 am , by

Look for this seal when you shop for the Fair Trade stamp of approval. (Photo courtesy Fair Trade USA)

Written by Ashley Koff, R.D. FITNESS advisory board member and founder of Ashley Koff Approved

October is a unique time of year.  As summer ends and winter approaches, we make changes to adjust our bodies and minds.  The changing of seasons is a great time to think about our health and power – individually and globally. It’s an important time to learn about women’s empowerment and health issues (such as breast cancer awareness), but also another issue that affects women and sustainable food production directly–Fair Trade Month. It’s a time to think about how everyday purchases affect the lives of millions of families who produce the food that feeds us.

You may think of Fair Trade as a label for your daily cup of coffee, but do you know what’s behind it? Fair Trade certification helps to improve the lives of women and their families across the globe, as well as protect the environment. This really hit home for me when I heard is the story of Maria Filha de Jesus, a coffee farm worker in Brazil who has needed eyeglasses for many years but could not afford them (she is 60!); it was getting harder and harder to do her job and see at home. Now that Maria works on a Fair Trade farm, she receives a wealth of benefits and finally got her long overdue pair of glasses that will allow her to continue working with the ability to pick the best beans possible.

Everyone can help women like Maria with the power of their dollar. Buying Fair Trade Certified products like tea, coffee, chocolate and produce (among others) not only guarantees that you are getting quality products, it means mothers, children and communities worldwide get paid fairly which translates into better healthcare, social care, environmental care and so much more.

That’s why this month is the perfect time to celebrate women’s health and empowerment through your everyday choices. Creating big impact is easy. For example, simply swap one of your staple grocery items with a Fair Trade Certified product. Why not upgrade your morning caffeine routine by switching your typical brew for a cup of Fair Trade Certified coffee paired with a Fair Trade Certified banana? It’s that simple, and makes a bigger difference than you think.

Read on for a Fair Trade recipe perfect for fall from Koff. Read more

Savor Summer with This Weekend Smoothie Recipe

Written on August 31, 2012 at 4:11 pm , by

As long as this glass is full, summer's not going anywhere. (Photo courtesy of Quaker Oats)

Written by Deanna Cioppa, editorial intern

Summer is coming to a close (sniff, sniff!) but that doesn’t mean you can’t still relish the sunny days. The slow-burning carbs and 8 grams of protein in this sweet smoothie from Quaker Oats will keep you full and fueled up so you can make the most of these precious last days. Blend one up this weekend and hit the great outdoors.

Strawberry Orange Smoothie

Serves 2


  • 1 cup frozen, unsweetened strawberries (5 ounces is about 10 berries)
  • 3/4 cup light vanilla yogurt (reduced fat, sweetened with aspartame)
  • 1 cup calcium-fortified Tropicana or Dole orange juice
  • 2/3 cup Quaker Oats (Quick or Old Fashioned, uncooked)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger or 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Combine all ingredients in blender container or food processor work bowl; blend until smooth, stopping blender once and stirring.

Nutrition info per serving: Calories 230, total fat 2.5 g, saturated fat 0.5 g, trans fat 0g, cholesterol 0 mg, sodium 60 mg, carbohydrates 45 g, dietary fiber 4 g, sugar 16 g, protein 8 g

More from FITNESS: More Healthy and Refreshing Smoothie Recipes to Try

Fit Blogger We Love: Powercakes

Written on August 30, 2012 at 3:14 pm , by

“Like mother, like daughter” is a common refrain, and Kasey from Powercakes and her “mamacakes” are proof that can be true. With a personal trainer mom, Kasey learned the power of fitness and recently graduated with a degree in health and physical education!

We caught up with the clean eater and CrossFit newbie to discover her favorite fitness method and go-to splurge food.

Kasey fuels her busy days with five to six small meals.

My favorite way to work out: I love weight lifting. I used to be a cardio junkie but my mindset has completely changed, along with my body, once I introduced weights! I also love to superset my exercises to keep my heart rate up. When it comes to cardio, I absolutely love Tabata intervals (which consists of doing 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest for a set amount of rounds). I have a few of my favorites on my video page!

My biggest indulgence: Cheese. Give me some good feta and I can eat the whole block!

Most embarrassing song I’ll admit I work out to: “Baby” by Justin Bieber. It’s the best to jump rope too, I swear!

My motivation comes from: My family, friends, boyfriend, the FitFluential community and my followers! I really wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

My fave fit snack: Powercakes! I make a big one in the morning or the night before and then cut it up to snack on throughout the day!

Kasey was kind enough to share one of her blog’s namesake recipes. Keep reading for a dish that tastes like dessert (but you have her permission to eat it anytime!)

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Omnivore No More: Jackie Rosenlund Shares Why She Went Vegan

Written on July 16, 2012 at 4:28 pm , by

Jackie preps for a cooking scene while filming Eatin' Vegan. (Photo courtesy Maria Lanzillotti/GoodTV)

Jackie preps for a cooking scene while filming Eatin' Vegan. (Photo courtesy Maria Lanzillotti/GoodTV)

Written by Lisa Turner, editorial intern

When Jackie Rosenlund was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at 19 years old, she decided to make herself feel better from the inside out. By switching to a vegan, plant-based diet she started noticing a shift in her health and spirits. Now she wants to share her journey with you through her new Web series Eatin’ Vegan, debuting on GoodTV in October 2012. We chatted with Jackie on how hard it was to become vegan and how it has impacted her life.

What made you switch from being an omnivore to a vegan?

About three years ago, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. I would have painful flare-ups all over my body, in joints I didn’t even know existed! Instead of just following the regular plan of going on a prescription, I decided to seek alternative therapy. I worked with my chiropractor and massage therapist to learn more about how altering my diet would help me manage my pain.

At first I just cut out red meat and that helped a lot, so I explored other options. I became mostly vegetarian last year, but it was daunting to give seafood up. After coming home from traveling through Europe, I wasn’t happy with where my health was at, so I told myself, it was time to be 100 percent vegetarian. The more research I did, it made sense for me that in order to achieve optimal health and avoid future flare-ups, veganism was the answer. I made the full switch about five months ago.

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A Girl and a Grill: Top Chef Alum Carla Hall’s Healthy BBQ Tips

Written on July 11, 2012 at 6:10 pm , by

Flip without fret by spritzing nonstick cooking spray on your grill first. (Photo courtesy Peter Ardito)

Summertime serves up a lot of temptation. Ice cream, fruity, calorie-packed cocktails, the list of diet wreckers is endless. But according to a recent MorningStar Farms survey, it’s not vacation or the parade of food festivals women blame on their diet woes, it’s backyard barbecues. That’s why they’ve teamed up with Top Chef alum and co-host on ABC’s The Chew Carla Hall for her simple grilling tips to have a scale-friendly summer. Read below to have an easier, healthier weekend fête, plus a new recipe to test out!

  • Prep it: Spray some nonstick cooking spray on the grilling surface before turning up the heat. It makes flipping your food easier than ever.
  • Think outside the bowl: Use your salad to top grilled burgers. Whether it’s a slaw or Caprese salad, consider this the adult version of playing with your food.
  • Get fresh: Use the grill to take advantage of summer’s wide produce selection. Marinate fresh vegetables in a light salad dressing and grill under tender for a tasty side dish. After the meal, add slices of angel food cake and stone fruit or pineapple to the grill for an easy, crowd-pleasing dessert.

Read more to get Carla’s Black Bean Burger with Peach Pico de Gallo recipe.

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A Gold Medal Recipe: What the Olympians Are Eating for Breakfast

Written on July 3, 2012 at 9:15 am , by

The balance of proteins and carbs in this recipe helps athletes fuel up for the day. (Photo courtesy of Chobani)

As the Olympic trials wrap up and athletes prepare for the last month of training, their diets will become more important than ever. To help naturally power Olympians like soccer player Lauren Cheney, track and field star Lashinda Demus and Paralympian cyclist and skier Allison Jones, Chobani has shared its winning breakfast recipe, which was created by the chefs at the U.S. Olympic Training Centers and served in the dining halls.

Read below for the recipe, no medal required to enjoy this tasty morning treat!

Bruléed Banana Waffles (serves 4)


  • 2 1/4-cups 0% Vanilla Chobani
  • 1/4 cup instant oatmeal
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 bananas, halved and chopped
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup toasted, slivered almonds

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The Skinny Food Every Girl Should Start Eating

Written on June 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm , by

Chobani yogurt has three different strains of probiotics, which aid in digestive health and immune function. (Photo courtesy of Chobani)

When chatting with experts this month for our story, 10 Skinny Foods You Should Have on Hand, there was one snack all pros agreed on– Greek yogurt. True, it’s a great source of calcium, and an easy way to satisfy a sweet tooth craving without diving head first into a pint of ice cream, but what exactly is it about yogurt that makes it such a superstar snack? Chobani registered dietician Kara Lydon gave us the dish on why you should incorporate more Greek yogurt into your diet, and what to look for before you stock up.

What makes Greek yogurt a healthier option over other kinds of yogurt?

Authentic, strained Greek yogurt packs in about twice the protein of regular yogurt, so it’s sure to fill you up. For those concerned with about their blood pressure or sodium levels it also has half the sodium regular yogurt does. It takes three pounds of milk to make one pound of Greek yogurt, so going Greek typically means more naturally occurring sugar.

Not all yogurts are created equal. What are some things to look out for on the label before you buy?

Look for one that contains only natural ingredients, no funny stuff you can’t pronounce. If you spot any artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or thickeners in the ingredient list steer clear! Check the protein content too and make sure it’s relatively high. Also, choose yogurts that are non-fat or low fat to cut back on excess calories and fat in your diet.

How can Greek yogurt beat bloat for bikini season?

To beat bloat in general, you want to look for minimally processed foods with low sodium content. The probiotics in yogurt may help fight belly bloat, too. Bloating can be caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the gut, probiotics can help replenish and restore that balance.

Read more to get the recipe for Cucumber-Feta Chobani Dip.

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Fit Blogger We Love: The Lean Green Bean

Written on May 24, 2012 at 3:13 pm , by

When she's not creating new recipes, Lindsay loves to head outdoors.

Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean knows a thing or two about good food (just look at her substantial recipe database!). And as you might guess by the name of her blog, many of those dishes are health-conscious—Lindsay is studying to become a registered dietitian. We caught up with creative and fit foodie to learn more about what makes her smile and how she satisfies her sweet tooth.

My favorite way to work out: At home! I love putting together Tabata and circuit workouts that get my heart pumping but don’t require a lot of equipment and never take more than 20 to 30 minutes.

5 things I can’t live without: My family and friends, my iPhone, fresh fruits and vegetables, my contacts or glasses and a water bottle.

I’m happiest when I’m… Spending time outside with my husband!

My favorite fit snack: Plain Chobani Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, almonds and chia seeds.

My fitness mantra: “Do something today that your future self will thank you for”

To try out one of Lindsay’s go-to vegetarian dinners, click below.

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Celebrate National Orange Juice Day With an Easy Lunchtime Dip

Written on May 4, 2012 at 11:42 am , by

Beat your 3 p.m. slump with this springy snack. (Photo courtesy of FDOC)

Not only is today Star Wars Day (Did you show up at the office dressed like Darth Vader?), it’s also National Orange Juice Day. The popular juice has started our mornings for years, and rightfully so. Drinking a glass when you wake up gives you a boost of vitamin C, reduces inflammation and can decrease bad cholesterol levels. Skipped this healthy sip today? Then make this quick dip for lunch or as your 3 p.m. snack from The Florida Department of Citrus. It’s tasty and doesn’t require you to wear your hair in weird side buns all day.

Fruit Skewers with Orange Dip


Orange Dip

  • 2 6-ounce containers lowfat vanilla yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon 100% Florida orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated Florida orange zest

Fruit Skewers

  • 1 cup orange sections (1 to 2 Florida oranges)
  • 1 cup tangerine sections (2 Florida tangerines)
  • 1 cup grapefruit sections (3/4 Florida grapefruit)
  • 1 cup each red and green seedless grapes
  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled and halved


For the Orange Dip: In a small bowl combine yogurt, honey, orange juice and orange zest. Cover and refrigerate until serving time. For the Fruit Skewers: Alternately thread oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, grapes and strawberries onto each of 24 (6-inch) skewers. Serve with Orange Dip. Serves 12 (2 skewers each).

Nutrition info per serving: 60 calories, 0.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 20 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 10 g sugars, 2 g protein, 4% vitamin A, 45% vitamin C, 6% calcium, 2% iron

A Heartburn-Proof Recipe from Top Chef Alum Spike Mendelsohn

Written on May 3, 2012 at 11:06 am , by

The only kind of heat Spike likes is on his plate. (Photo courtesy Steven Freeman)

Celebrity chef and past contestant of Bravo’s Top Chef Season 4 Spike Mendelsohn spends his days running from kitchen to kitchen and tasting a whole lot of food. So to be diagnosed with acid reflux disease (ARD), a condition characterized by constant heartburn despite diet and lifestyle changes was more than frustrating for him. That’s why he’s partnered with the Dexilant, a prescription medication that can help manage ARD to launch Don’t Let It Burn, a campaign centered around helping those who suffer from the condition learn how to lower the heat. Read below to see how Spike deals with his ARD, a tasty burger recipe that won’t trigger heartburn and how to enter to win a chance to cook with Spike!

What made you decide to be a part of the Don’t Let It Burn campaign?

Being a chef is a pretty stressful lifestyle. Between my job and constantly tasting different foods these factors trigger my ARD. I’ve learned it’s something you need to understand and manage, which is why I joined the campaign.

Before you had ARD, did you know that was the issue?

I was one of those guys that thought I just had bad heartburn occasionally, but once I met with my doctor and got more information I knew it was ARD. Not only that, but 19 million people also have it, which is pretty crazy if you don’t know how to manage it!

ARD can definitely affect your work in the kitchen, but do you find it also affects your daily routine?

Absolutely. I am an avid coffee drinker, as most chefs are. That was a big trigger for me so I had to learn to cut back on the cups.

Read on for a heartburn-proof turkey burger recipe and a chance to get Spike in your kitchen!

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